Three key questions around admission and access to higher education are: Who should be admitted to higher education? How is admissions organised? What is admission to? First, there are different answers to the normative or philosophical question of who ‘should’ have access to higher education. For example, in Germany, everyone who passes the final school-leaving examination, the Abitur, is entitled to go to university. The German constitution allows for the freedom of choice of profession and most subjects do not have any access restrictions: beginning university is a matter of ‘matriculating’ or signing up for a university course of one’s choice. In practice, there are some access restrictions by attainment for popular subjects such as medicine; these are called ‘numerus clausus’ (closed number) and ...

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